Police officials are North Bay are warning the community to watch out for romance scams, after a local woman lost thousands of dollars to a fraudster.

The North Bay Police Service said an unknown suspect contacted a local woman through an online dating site and after building a connection with her, the fraudster convinced her to send funds, without ever meeting her in person.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reports that in 2016, “689 victims lost over $14.3 million to scammers pretending to be in love.”

The fraudsters use fake names, post profile photos of someone else, tell false stories about their lives and play with a victim’s emotions to lure them in.

Examples of false scenarios include:

  • the fraudster is located in a faraway country and needs money for travel to meet the victim
  • the fraudster needs funds for an emergency or an urgency, such as a sick family member
  • the “rich & successful” fraudster needs funds to pay employees and promises to pay the victim back
  • money is needed to secure a large business contract
  • while traveling, a government seized funds from the fraudster and won’t release the money until a fine is paid

Police officials recommend people check out the Competition Bureau of Canada's Little Black Book of Scams to increase awareness of the vast array of scams that target Canadians.